Southern Right Whales are one of the biggest mammals inhabiting on the planet. Even with their bodies adapted to live on an aquatic environment, they are warm blooded, breath air through their lungs, give birth and breastfeed their calves with warm milk, as with humans. A powerful caudal fin propels their body in the water, though their upper limbs have disappeared.
Scientifically known as “Eubalaena Australis“, southern right whales belong to the Mysticeti suborder (baleen whales), which together with whales, dolphins and porpoises constitute the Cetacean order. Located from 20° to 64° latitude in the southern hemisphere, they have migration habits traveling from breeding to feeding areas.
The whale’s anatomy is featured mostly by callosities, toughened skin patches on the top and sides of the head. The pattern is unique for each individual, and therefore it is used by researchers to identify each animal, as if it were a fingerprint.
WHEN DO YOU SEE THEM?
During the calving period, the different whale populations visit the coasts of South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They arrive at Península Valdés’ coasts, province of Chubut, in March or April, finding in its quiet gulfs the propitious waters for reproduction, breeding and calving. At the end of the spring they migrate towards feeding areas, as in the case of Península Valdés’ population which could be found near the South Georgia islands.
The population of Península Valdés has been estimated in more than 1,600 in 2018 – one of the biggest groups now existing. Southern hemisphere populations are increasing but still the North Atlantic Right Whale is facing serious conservation issues, with only 350 live animals.
RESPONSIBLE WHALE WATCHING
The Southern Right Whale is a sensible and intelligent animal, generally peaceful and friendly.
Whale watching trips depart exclusively from Puerto Pirámides by authorised boat operators
Following the rules established by the ‘Patagonian Technique for Whale Watching Tours’ and the safety regulations set forth by the PNA [Argentine Coast Guard], Southern Spirit will ease the exciting encounter with these giants. The boats are led by a guide/naturalist trained to guarantee a responsible whale watching tour.
The Whale Conservation Institute and Southern Spirit S.A. have entered into a contract to foster their mutual support, providing themselves a two-way assistance in management activities, scientific and technological research, along with disclosure and education.
From September to April you can visit the Penguins of Magallanes colony of El Pedral, monitoring by the Global Penguin Society, an international coalition committed to the survival and protection of all the penguins’ species in the world and their habitats.